Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Skill Levels

Over on the CGOA discussion board, they have been chatting about skill levels on patterns.  I personally don't like them. I think that most people underestimate their abilities and skills and may pass up a pattern that they really want to do because someone who does not know them tells them this pattern is hard.
The only hard thing about the pattern is reading it. If you've crocheted for very long, you know the basic stitches. The designer will have notes on special stitches. You might want to practice them before you start if you are not familiar with that particular sequence of yarn overs. It is just a matter of putting them together to make something useful, or pretty, or just plain silly!
So, in my NSHO, the difficulty in a pattern is the reading. And like any skill, it only gets better with practice.
  • Slow down: you need to really read and follow each word of the directions.
  • Don't anticipate:  the repeats are not as easy as in other patterns. There are usually more than one per row or round. I've been known to use hi-lighters so I can quickly see what my next instruction is.
  • Create something wonderful. 
  • Then slap yourself on the back for stretching your skills.  
  • And go to Crochet Partners, or CGOA and brag about your accomplishments. 


Vashti Braha said...

Hi Cay,
I know what you mean. While writing a pattern, I've always get uncomfortable when I have to pick only 1 out the 4 standard skill levels. I often feel that the skill descriptions are much too general to help the wide range of crocheters we have in the world really know whether or not to give my pattern a chance.
Pattern reading is a separate skill from other crochet skills! I'm writing my patterns differently now to take this into account.
Thanks for your post!

BN said...

Hi Cay, and thanks for the insight! I've been known to take on a pattern, and not look at the difficulty level until halfway through or more. Seems to me that the difficulty level is a mental stopper for me, so now I just don't look at it! Easy as pie! But then again, I tend to just start a pattern, without reading it through first, and that's where I get in trouble! So when I last got into that particular ditch, I promised myself that from now on I'd read the pattern through first, before picking up the hook and yarn/thread in question! Has worked so far!
Thanks for an interesting read!
BNanner in Iceland

cay said...

I have several patterns for sale on Ravelry and I do not have a difficulty rating on any of them. What's hard for one person is a piece of cake for others. I stand by "learn to read a pattern and you can do anything."

jd said...

i think you're absolutely correct about the skill levels listed on most patterns and that most of us can crochet patterns more diff than we think we can. the only exception is that it's nice for beginners to have success the first couple times out so patterns labeled 'beginner' or 'easy' might be helpful for them. for anyone who knows the basic stitches and can read a pattern, the rest is just practice and the willingness to learn a new language - that of patterns. thanks for sharing your insights.
jd in st louis

Pam @ Playing with Fiber said...

Definitely agree with you! Pattern reading is almost like another language, but if you know the basic stitches you *can* read it.

I'm trying to work on a series of patterns that would teach crocheters how to read them. In the meantime i do my best to spell things out in my patterns!